We're discussing how to train entry-level physical therapists to address the opioid epidemic. My guest is Dr. Anne Swisher. She is a Professor and Director of Scholarship for the West Virginia Division of Physical Therapy. She's been a Board-Certified Cardiopulmonary Clinical Specialist for several years and has taught in the area of cardiopulmonary physical therapy, exercise prescription and pathophysiology. She's also a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association and has published over 80 peer reviewed publications. We focus on a paper Anne published called the Physical Therapist Roles During the Opioid Epidemic in Rural Appalachia: Preparing Students to Educate Communities.
Anne is working to address opioid misuse in what some may consider an unconventional way. She's enhanced physical therapy instruction at West Virginia University to emphasize the physical therapist's role in preventing and treating opioid use disorder. The reason why this is such an important topic is because the nexus of America's opioid epidemic isn’t where most people would expect. It's not in the big city such as New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. Instead, the hub of the epidemic is in rural states such as West Virginia. West Virginia has more than double the rate of opioid deaths in the national average and a 20% higher rate of opioid prescriptions written by providers.
On this episode, we discuss how to prepare future physical therapists to embrace advocacy roles related to opioid use disorder, the educational model and develop to guide physical therapy students regarding their roles across the spectrum of opioid use disorder. Also, how this model can serve as a guide for educating a variety of communities negatively impacted by the opioid epidemic, without further ado, let's begin. Let's meet Anne and learn how we can train entry-level physical therapists to address the opioid epidemic.
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